People

Screen time: the new faces to watch in film

MAX MARA jacket and top; talent’s own earring (worn throughout).
MAX MARA jumper, top and pants.

Italian fashion house Max Mara has a long-standing legacy of supporting the creative arts: think events with the New York City Ballet and Ballroom Marfa, as well as the establishment of its own biennial art prize, the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. In 2006, the brand partnered with Women In Film; an advocacy group for the screen industries that champions gender parity and equality.

It came as no surprise that the collaborative relationship was not only forged, but flourished. After all, this was a brand whose design ethos is fuelled by a desire to empower women through their garments, finding solidarity with a collective who does the same through the creative arts. The partnership also provided the opportunity to carve out spaces for emerging performers in the screen industry, giving new talent a platform to share their craft. It is here, in the heart of Hollywood, we meet actors Sylvia Hoeks, Melanie Liburd and Hayley Magnus – three women in film we can’t take our eyes off. 

Sylvia Hoeks

The Fearless One

“I’d like to think I’m pretty grounded,” Sylvia Hoeks assures us when we first meet. “But I do have a deep love for playing crazy characters.” The Dutch-born actor, who first captured our attention as the chillingly restrained villain Luv in Blade Runner 2049, describes that experience as her most surreal career highlight to date. “Working on a scene with Denis Villeneuve and Harrison Ford, while Ridley Scott was visiting set … seeing those three men together blew my mind.”

She next commanded the screen as the icy, complex Camilla Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, bleaching her brows for maximum visual effect. Hoeks is big on “the process of transformation” in her craft, and shaved her head for her role as Queen Kane in the forthcoming television series, See. “As a young kid my parents couldn’t drag me away from the TV,” she recalls. “Every show was a journey into a different world.”

“Fantasy was my best friend, it still is.”

MAX MARA jumper, top and pants.
MAX MARA jacket, dress, top, shoes and stockings.

Sylvia Hoeks

The Fearless One

“I’d like to think I’m pretty grounded,” Sylvia Hoeks assures us when we first meet. “But I do have a deep love for playing crazy characters.” The Dutch-born actor, who first captured our attention as the chillingly restrained villain Luv in Blade Runner 2049, describes that experience as her most surreal career highlight to date. “Working on a scene with Denis Villeneuve and Harrison Ford, while Ridley Scott was visiting set … seeing those three men together blew my mind.”

She next commanded the screen as the icy, complex Camilla Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, bleaching her brows for maximum visual effect. Hoeks is big on “the process of transformation” in her craft, and shaved her head for her role as Queen Kane in the forthcoming television series, See. “As a young kid my parents couldn’t drag me away from the TV,” she recalls. “Every show was a journey into a different world.”

“Fantasy was my best friend, it still is.”

Melanie Liburd

The Storyteller

“It’s an exciting and empowering time for women in film. More of us are producing, writing and directing, and lifting each other up along the way.” 

Actor Melanie Liburd is well acquainted with her creative side. Born in Hertfordshire, southern England, Liburd was a devoted art student, forever painting and drawing, and appeared in her first school play at the age of seven. Nowadays she’s recognisable for roles on having garnered roles in Game of Thrones and This Is Us. But it was actually some years before she pursued a career on screen professionally: post working as a model and a degree in fashion design, acting remained on her mind, and moving to L.A. was a natural progression. “L.A. is home for me at the moment,” she says, and describes the female filmmaking community in the city as one “ready to share experiences, wins and failures. Comfortable to be vulnerable and open with their success stories. And everyone has a story.” Drawn to acting’s “hopeful possibility to change people’s minds and lives through storytelling”, Liburd seeks guidance from her instincts. Her advice? “If it doesn’t feel right, it’s usually not right”.

MAX MARA jacket, top, shoes and stockings.
MAX MARA cardigan, top, skirt and shoes.

“There are so many brilliant, generous women in the industry ready to help me with advice and mentorship, and I’m so grateful for this.”

Hayley Magnus

The Comedian

Hayley Magnus has that innate brand of humour that sets you at ease the moment you meet her. She’s Australian, which might explain the kinship, but assures us she’s “not funny past 10pm. Please don’t invite me to your rave.” A voracious reader, Magnus is perpetually drawn to characters that are distant from herself. “I love the reprieve of being a little less me and a little more something else,” she explains. “I’m about to play a character who has very little insecurity, she presumes everyone wants to sleep with her all the time … I strive to be a good, kind, well-mannered person and I like getting permission to not be any of those things.”

Starting out like many other local greats with a role on Home and Away, Magnus also performed alongside Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker, but it was her hilarious Paul Fieg-directed, ad-libbed star turn in Diet Coke’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial (originally intended for social media marketing) that thrust her onto the international stage. When musing on her profession during this particular time in culture, she says she’s “hoping being a woman in film is like being any other person in film, of any gender,” but acknowledges that “at this point in time women are demanding representation far beyond the previous limitations of girlfriend, wife, mother. There are more opportunities for us as people rather than an accompaniment or prop for a man.” 

MAX MARA dress and top; talent’s own ring.

“[Home is] where the majority of my shoes are. Currently L.A.”

Hayley Magnus

The Comedian

Hayley Magnus has that innate brand of humour that sets you at ease the moment you meet her. She’s Australian, which might explain the kinship, but assures us she’s “not funny past 10pm. Please don’t invite me to your rave.” A voracious reader, Magnus is perpetually drawn to characters that are distant from herself. “I love the reprieve of being a little less me and a little more something else,” she explains. “I’m about to play a character who has very little insecurity, she presumes everyone wants to sleep with her all the time … I strive to be a good, kind, well-mannered person and I like getting permission to not be any of those things.”

Starting out like many other local greats with a role on Home and Away, Magnus also performed alongside Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker, but it was her hilarious Paul Fieg-directed, ad-libbed star turn in Diet Coke’s 2018 Super Bowl commercial (originally intended for social media marketing) that thrust her onto the international stage. When musing on her profession during this particular time in culture, she says she’s “hoping being a woman in film is like being any other person in film, of any gender,” but acknowledges that “at this point in time women are demanding representation far beyond the previous limitations of girlfriend, wife, mother. There are more opportunities for us as people rather than an accompaniment or prop for a man.” 

MAX MARA jacket, top, skirt, shoes and stockings.

PHOTOGRAPHY Adrian Price
FASHION Natalie Petrevski
TALENT Sylvia Hoeks, Melanie Liburd and Hayley Magnus
HAIR Dritan @ Forward Artists using Bumble and bumble
MAKEUP Dana Delaney @ Forward Artists using Nars
PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT Matthew Simpson

Special thanks to Apex Photo Studios.